Recap of the Town and Gown Advisory Council Meeting 11/20

This meeting was originally supposed to be held the Technology Center but was moved to room 326 of Fayetteville City Hall. The meeting opened with introductions of the members and an explanation of how the Town and Gown Committee had recently been reorganized and the change of scope of the committee.

After the previous meetings minutes were approved, Don Marr, the Chief of Staff for the City of Fayetteville and chair of the committee, asked if the committee would move the item about Lewis Park to the front of the agenda. The council all agreed, and Will Dockery representing #SaveLewis got up and presented the case for Lewis.

After presenting the argument that Lewis is utilized by university club sports, international students, and the local population and how changing the park will affect the city and the university the council members asked questions and had comments for further clarification. Several community members voiced their concern during the discussion.

After an hour of talking on the issue, Matthew Ramesy, a Community Citizen at Large committee member made a motion to recommend that the city should not prematurely cancel the lease at the end of December in light of the new information that has come to light about Lewis, and to allow all the stakeholders to be able to further sit down and figure out the issues surrounding Lewis Park. The motion was seconded by John L. Colbert, the representative for Fayetteville Public Schools.

The motion was voted on after a bit more discussion. The five Community Member Representatives all voted for the measure. The three City of Fayetteville Staff Representatives all voted against it — including Don Marr — who made it clear he was doing so as instructed from the administration. The three University of Arkansas, Fayetteville Representatives all abstained. That meant the motion passed 5-3-3.

We thanked the committee for their time and consideration.

The key takeaways from this meeting are:

  1. We want to work with the City of Fayetteville, University of Arkansas, local businesses, and the citizens to #SaveLewis Park. Together, we can do great things and continue to make this one of the best places to live.

  2. Write you council member.… Remind them that you care about this issue.

  3. We need to show up, and show up in force, to the November 21st City Council meeting at 5:30 pm in room 219 of City Hall. If you would like to talk during the public comment section, please focus on the lease being terminated early. There are many reasons why the lease should not be terminated early. Focus on those.

Let’s keep it up.

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